Getting out of the gadget game

Gadgets, gadgets, gadgets!
My current job title is Digital Marketing Assistant. This means I operate almost entirely on the web. I have a desk that is mostly used as a pantry and a dresser, I only have a handful of papers lying around at any given time, all of my work lives inside my work computer and my personal stuff lives in my smart phone or my laptop. I’ve always been a wired individual who was terrible at keeping physical diaries but left virtual ones scattered across the internet. I never really had pen-pals but I spent hours communicating with my global friends virtually. In terms of ephemera, most of it is in bits and bytes.

But a few weeks ago I realized the implications of living digitally when my smart phone was stolen (along with my prescription sunglasses, jerk) I no longer had any contacts in a reasonably well-organized way, all my memos that I hadn’t uploaded to the cloud were gone, un-backed up photos were gone (I was at the Canadian National Exhibition that day so there were plenty) my progress in my e-books was gone, etc. On top of that was the cold fear that somebody was looking into my life. I hadn’t really put financial information or anything that could damage or defraud me, but it was still a risk.

As I went phone-less for a day or so and realized how disconnected I was from my current state of being, (I borrowed an old Blackberry from a friend) I panicked and quickly went and purchased a new smartphone within a week. Now that I’m thinking about that, as much as I enjoy my new toy, the cost is weighing on my conscience.

Do I really need to live so digitally? Can’t I deal with a less technically advanced product? Why am I so obligated to the digital world? While I do need a smart phone for elements of my job such as live-tweeting and photos, this is not paid for by my employer so I probably don’t need the newest phone on the market, an older iPhone or smartphone would have sufficed. I have to admit it was a purchase for myself.

After I bought this phone, I started to think about all the gadgets I’ve purchased over the years and their promises of convenience and entertainment. I made a list of these items (not including my boyfriend’s gadgets) and the results were alarming. With all of these products, how many can truly be useful at one time? My only wish was that I realized this before I had bought my new phone, which is a naive wish, as if not buying the phone would’ve made it all better somehow.

Here were the gadgets I found.

1. Dell Studio 19 inch laptop (2009) – Use this daily.
2. Acer Netbook (2010) – I used this daily during periods of schooling but not much otherwise
3. Samsung Galaxy S III cellphone (2012) – My new phone to replace my stolen one
4. Nikon J1 camera (2012) – Birthday gift to myself, I rarely use it :/
5. Nikon Cool Pix (2008) – This thing has seen better days, I don’t use it ever.
6. iPod nano (2012) – Used infrequently :/
7. Nintendo DSI (2010) – Haven’t touched in months.
8. Nintendo DS (2005) – Haven’t touched in year(s)?
9. Nintendo Gamecube (2008) – Haven’t played in over a year.
10. Playstation II (2007? Used from my brother) – Haven’t played since last year.
11. iPod Video 60gb (2005) – No longer retains charge, won’t add new music but still can play in a dock
12. iTouch first gen (hand-me-down from my boyfriend)
13. Sega Genesis (1993) – Never giving this away!

This list doesn’t include my boyfriend’s gadgets, although we live together. He came equipped with an LCD tv, an XBOX 360 and a computer.

Upon compiling this list, I can see the justification in almost every purchase. The older gaming systems have been around so long it doesn’t matter, but I fell for the upgrade game time and time again. I think I need to realize why I’m buying these products, what I’m missing that they are promising and why I can’t say no to the gadget game.

The problem is that I’m very good at justification. I don’t even realize when I covet these items! My most recent almost-purchase was a heart-rate monitor for running/gym activities, I kept telling myself it will help me be more motivated to push myself harder when working out.

Is that true? Perhaps. But luckily, I had enough wherewithal to just say no.

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